Novak Djokovic admits he needs to "lower the expectations" as he prepares to defend his French Open title.

The Serbian has failed to reach a final so far in 2024, having fallen at the semi-final hurdle in Australia, Monte-Carlo, and most recently Geneva with a defeat to Tomas Machac.

Djokovic also suffered shock defeats to Alejandro Tabilo in Rome and world number 123 Luca Nardi at Indian Wells in the round of 32.

Despite questions surrounding his recent form, the 24-time Grand Slam winner is looking to draw on his vast experience to end his trophy drought this season.

"I would say that I know what I'm capable of, and particularly in the Grand Slams I normally play the best tennis, at least I aim always to play the best tennis, and I was most of my career able to do that, so that's the goal," said Djokovic on his arrival in France.

"I have been saying, you know, for quite a while that in terms of clay, I want to peak here in Paris, in Roland Garros. Last year I had an amazing year, and particularly here in Roland Garros, and hopefully, I can have a great tournament.

"My hopes and goals are always the same, but I have to lower the expectations. When I say that I mean, you know, maybe not thinking too much ahead in advance in terms of the tournament and who I might face in the later rounds, but really taking it day by day, step by step, and really building my game.

"Because that's what I have really been struggling with, not really playing in a consistently good level."

Djokovic will play French wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the first round on Tuesday. 

Jannik Sinner and Iga Swiatek are the favourites in their respective draws to triumph at the French Open.

That is according to Stats Perform's Win Probability Model, which saw Swiatek regain her Roland-Garros crown in 20 per cent of simulations, ahead of nearest challenger Elena Rybakina (nine per cent).

The Pole is aiming to become the third player in the Open Era to win the women's singles title at Roland-Garros for three consecutive years, after Monica Seles (1990-92) and Justine Henin (2005-07).

Swiatek claimed a third women’s singles title at Roland-Garros from five appearances in the main draw at the event. In the Open Era, only Margaret Court (three out of four, 75 per cent) holds a better title win rate from main draws entered at the tournament.

In the men's competition, Sinner is the narrow favourite in Stats Perform's predictions, with his 13 per cent chance just clear of Novak Djokovic's 10.

Sinner has the highest winning percentage of any player so far in 2024 (93.3 per cent, 28-2), though third-favourite Carlos Alcaraz still has a six per cent likelihood of winning in Paris.

World number three Alcaraz has yet to reach a French Open final, but is the youngest player in the Open Era to reach the round of 16 at seven consecutive majors.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is out to overtake Court's record of 24 majors and become the outright leader for grand slam titles across men's and women's singles events.

Aged 36 years and 20 days, Djokovic became the oldest winner of the men's singles at Roland-Garros in the Open Era when he triumphed last year.

Carlos Alcaraz says he is feeling better ahead of the French Open, but still has concerns about ongoing issues with his right forearm.

The world number three reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros 12 months ago, losing out to eventual champion Novak Djokovic, but his preparations have been far from ideal this time around.

Alcaraz has been dogged by an injury to his right forearm during the clay-court season, which forced him to withdraw from Barcelona and Rome, while his fitness struggles were evident in his Madrid Open quarter-final defeat by Andrey Rublev.

The Spaniard admits he may have to adapt his game plan against J.J. Wolf in the opening round, but he was optimistic on media day in the French capital.

"I'm feeling better," he smiled. "At least I can practise and hit balls without pain. That's a really good point for me. I came here to this tournament with not as many matches as I wanted, but I'm focusing on practice.

"I'm not feeling any pain when I step on the court in practice, but I'm still thinking about it when I am hitting forehands. I'm a little bit scared about hitting every forehand 100 per cent, so I have to change it in my first match.

"It's Roland Garros, and it's a really special tournament. Everybody wants to have good results here. This tournament is one of the main reasons that I'm practising every day. I want to be a better player, to be able to win these kinds of tournaments.

"I'm practising well. I'm getting in rhythm. I'm getting confidence [from] the practice and that is really important, and I think I don't need too many matches to get to my 100 per cent level."

Rafael Nadal is about to step out at Roland-Garros for the final time.

The Spanish great - a 22-time grand slam champion – is set for his farewell appearance at the French Open, which he has won a record 14 times.

It seems unlikely the soon-to-be 38-year-old will extend that record on Court Philippe-Chatrier over the coming two weeks, though of course you never know.

Familiar foe Novak Djokovic goes in with better odds than Nadal, as the world number one aims to retain his crown.

Yet, there is the new generation of superstars looking to take control, and on Nadal's farewell appearance at the tournament he has dominated, it would be fitting if the baton was handed over to Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner or another star of the next generation.

Let's dive into the data ahead of the 2024 French Open.

 

Rafa's last dance

We couldn't start anywhere else. What an icon Nadal has been, especially at Roland-Garros, and you would be a brave punter to bet against anyone matching or bettering his haul of 14 titles in Paris.

Nadal is one of two players to have won 10 men's singles titles at a single major, along with Djokovic at the Australian Open (10 titles).

The Spaniard holds a 100 per cent winning record in the French Open final, while he has also taken the Roland-Garros crown on four occasions without dropping a single set (2008, 2010, 2017 and 2020).

His tally of 112 matches won at the French Open is more than any other player has managed when it comes to match wins at a single major, seven ahead of Roger Federer's tally of 105 at Wimbledon.

Indeed, Nadal's win percentage at Roland-Garros (97.4 per cent) is the best of any player at a single grand slam. He has only lost three of his 115 matches at the French Open and only two opponents have managed to beat him there – Djokovic (twice) and Robin Soderling.

Nadal's best consecutive run of matches won at the French Open is 39, which is only bettered by Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon (41) and Federer in the US Open and Wimbledon (40 at each tournament) in the Open Era.

Only Djokovic, Margaret Court (24 each) and Serena Williams (23) have won more major titles than Nadal, while only Djokovic and Federer have appeared in more grand slam men's singles finals than Nadal in the Open Era.

Yet, if he is to dazzle the Paris crowd in one last dance at Roland-Garros, he is going to have to do it the hard way, having been drawn against world number four Alexander Zverev.

The German is coming off the back of claiming his second Italian Open title, becoming the third player since 2000 to win that tournament on multiple occasions, after Nadal (10) and Djokovic (six).

A good omen for Rafa, perhaps, is that he is the only player with over 10 wins against top-five opponents at Roland-Garros since the ATP Rankings were published in 1974, with 20 such victories.

Should he make it beyond Zverev, Nadal could have a relatively kind run to the last 16, in which Holger Rune may be waiting. Daniil Medvedev or Alex de Minaur would be the quarter-final opponent before a potential semi against Djokovic, and a possible final against Nadal's heir apparent in Alcaraz.

Nadal is not the only modern great who is set to make his farewell French Open appearance. Andy Murray has indicated he will retire in the coming months, too.

Djokovic the defender

The spotlight might be on Nadal, but Djokovic is the defending title and is out to make history, as he bids to surpass Court's record of 24 majors and become the outright leader for grand slam titles across men's and women's singles events.

Aged 36 years and 20 days, Djokovic became the oldest winner of the men's singles at Roland-Garros in the Open Era when he triumphed last year. Djokovic is one of two players in the Open Era aged 35 or over to win the event, along with Nadal (2022).

Since the start of the 2020 season, three players have registered 50 or more men’s singles match wins at grand slam events, with Djokovic leading the way (86), ahead of Medvedev (59) and Zverev (56). 

Djokovic is out to become the second player in the Open Era to secure a major singles title after turning 37, along with Ken Rosewall at the Australian Open in 1972.

In the event he reaches the quarter-final barring walkovers, Djokovic will surpass Federer (369) for the most men's singles match wins at grand slams in the Open Era. Djokovic is currently on 366. 

At least one of Federer, Nadal or Djokovic has made the men's singles final at Roland-Garros since 2005. Expect the three-time French Open champion to go on a deep run again.

The contenders

Alcaraz can't be discounted. The world number three has yet to reach a French Open final, but is the youngest player in the Open Era to reach the round of 16 at seven consecutive majors.

Competing against the two-time grand slam champion is Sinner, who is now above Alcaraz in the ATP rankings.

He is the player with the highest winning percentage so far in 2024 (93.3 per cent, 28-2), and is also only the second Italian in the Open Era to hold a top-three seed in the men's singles at Roland-Garros after Adriano Panatta (1977), who was defending champion that year.

Zverev is in fine form, Medvedev is always dangerous and Casper Ruud is strong on clay.

Only three unseeded players have won the men’s singles title at Roland-Garros in the Open Era – Mats Wilander (1982), Gustavo Kuerten (1997) and Gaston Gaudio (2004). Do not expect that to change this time around. 

Novak Djokovic admits he is concerned by his performance levels this season ahead of launching his title defence at the French Open.

The world number one's wait for his first silverware of 2024 continued following a semi-final defeat by Tomas Machac in Geneva on Friday.

He also fell in the last four in Melbourne and Monte Carlo, while suffering a shock defeat at the hands of world number 123 Luca Nardi in the last 32 at Indian Wells.

Therefore Djokovic, who split from long-term coach Goran Ivanisevic earlier in the campaign, can be forgiven for not being full of confidence ahead of his latest quest for a record-breaking 25th grand slam singles title at Roland Garros.

"Of course, I am worried. I haven't been playing well at all this year," he said after his defeat to Machac.

"It's not enjoyment when you are suffering on the court feeling this way. You're not able to focus on tennis when you have other stuff happening. I just hope I can be fit and ready and prepared for Roland Garros.

"I don't want to take anything away from his win, he deserved it. I don't know what to think about this match, to be honest. I want to forget about it and move on to Paris.

"It was good that I could come here and play more than one match. I played three. I just need to feel better."

Djokovic will become the fourth man in the Open Era to make 20 or more main-draw appearances at the French Open when he begins his campaign against local wildcard Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

A run to the quarter-finals at Roland Garros - without walkovers - would see him surpass Roger Federer for the most singles match wins at majors.

Although, an early exit could see the 37-year-old surrender top spot in the ATP rankings, with world number two and reigning Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner breathing down his neck. 

"[I've had] some [good] matches here and there, but it is what it is," he added. "You have to accept it. I don't consider myself a favourite there. I'm going to take it match by match and see how far I can go."

Tomas Machac upset Novak Djokovic as he captured the biggest win of his career to deny the Serbian a place in the Geneva Open final.

Machac reached his first ATP Tour final with a 6-4, 0-6, 6-1 victory on Friday following a hard-fought contest.

Djokovic had control of the first set, storming into a 4-1 lead, but Machac rallied to take the opening set.

After receiving a medical time-out before the second set, Djokovic superbly won the second set without dropping a single game but faded in the decider.

Djokovic won the opener in the third, but Machac came from behind to seal the win in two hours and seven minutes. He will face Casper Ruud or Flavio Cobolli in the final on Sunday. 

Data Debrief: Final still out of Djokovic's reach

Despite making a strong start to the Geneva Open, fitness problems seem to have caught up with Djokovic ahead of the French Open later this month. 

He lost his second career match despite having won a set with a 6-0 scoreline (after Sam Querrey in the Paris Masters in 2012), and has failed to make a final in 2024.

Novak Djokovic beat Tallon Griekspoor in straight sets in the Geneva Open quarter-finals on Thursday, teeing up a last-four meeting with Tomas Machac.

Djokovic was pushed all the way in an intriguing opener, Griekspoor generating three set points only to fail to convert any of them.   

The world number one immediately punished Griekspoor's wastefulness by breaking at the end of a back-and-forth service game, then proceeded to serve the first set out in comfort.

Griekspoor would not get a second chance to make a contest of it as Djokovic took full advantage of an early break in the second set, serving at 81 per cent and winning 92 per cent of points behind his first serve from there as he cruised to a 7-5 6-1 win.

Data Debrief: Age just a number for Djokovic

Having turned 37 on Wednesday, Djokovic is the oldest semi-finalist in Geneva Open history.

Now 14-5 for the year, he is the strong favourite to claim his first title of 2024. Flavio Cobolli will face Sebastian Baez or Casper Ruud in the other semi-final.

Novak Djokovic celebrated his 37th birthday by breezing into the Geneva Open quarter-finals after his comfortable straight-sets victory against Yannick Hanfmann.

The world number one made light work of Hanfmann, who defeated Andy Murray the day before, after a 6-3 6-3 victory in Switzerland on Wednesday.

Serbia's Djokovic saved nine of the 10 break points faced and won six straight games in the second set for a routine victory, responding emphatically after going 3-0 down.

The winner of a last-16 meeting between Denis Shapovalov and Tallon Griekspoor awaits in the last eight for Djokovic, who triumphed with little trouble on his 37th birthday.

Data Debrief: Age will not stop Djokovic

Having watched rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal struggle for fitness in the latter stages of their career, Djokovic is showing no signs of slowing down before the French Open starts later this month.

Djokovic will be aiming to become the second player in the Open Era to secure a Grand Slam Singles title after turning 37, along with Ken Rosewall at the Australian Open 1972.

Andy Murray is a "gladiator" and his love for tennis means he could yet prolong his career, according to former world number eight Diego Schwartzman.

Murray has endured a difficult few years with injuries, undergoing surgery on both hips in 2018 and 2019.

The three-time major champion has repeatedly said he is approaching the end of his career, revealing in February that he does not "plan on playing much past this summer".

Murray is currently preparing for what will likely be his final appearance at the French Open, having sat out five of the last six tournaments at Roland-Garros.

Schwartzman, however, feels Murray's love for the game could lead to him playing on for longer than anticipated.  

"His life is tennis and I think he enjoys it. I think this is his legacy," Schwartzman – who won his only tour-level meeting with Murray in Antwerp in 2021 – told Stats Perform.

"No matter what you do, your age or how you are doing, if you really love the sport and you love what you do, you can do it and you can push hard for as many years and as many tournaments as you want.

"He's a fighter, a gladiator, and he's been doing the same since he was very young, and for us also, sharing tournaments and sharing moments, he has the passion out there. 

"So, it's good to see these kinds of guys because tennis always needs guys who love the sport, and this is the one for sure."

Murray would surely have added to his one US Open title and two Wimbledon crowns if not for the presence of the 'big three' of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The Scot has lost five grand slam finals to Djokovic and one to Federer. 

Schwartzman says the importance of preparation is the main thing he learned from being on tour with those three greats, though he refused to say who was the greatest of all time. 

"I know them very well, playing them on court, outside of the court," the Argentine added. "The good thing for me and many guys who share the tournaments with them is how differently they prepare the tournaments.

"How differently they do things with food, with practice, with everything. It's crazy.

"I think, okay, 'in one small way he's the best to do this side of the game', and then the other one is the best [at another aspect], so it's not my thing, who the GOAT is."

Andy Murray was denied a meeting with Novak Djokovic at the Geneva Open as Yannick Hanfmann completed a 7-5 6-2 win over the Scot on Tuesday.

Murray's first-round clash with Hanfmann was suspended due to rain on Monday, with the three-time grand slam champion 7-5 4-1 down.

He had earlier fumed at umpire Greg Allensworth as pollen rained down on the court in Switzerland, questioning why play had not been stopped.

The rain may have frustrated Hanfmann's victory pursuit on Monday, but it only provided a temporary reprieve for Murray as the players returned to complete the match the next day.

Hanfmann held his nerve through his final two service games to book a meeting with Djokovic for Wednesday.  

In Tuesday's other early match, four-time grand slam quarter-finalist David Goffin was beaten in straight sets by Nicolas Moreno De Alboran.

The likes of Denis Shapovalov and Tallon Griekspoor are also in action in Switzerland on Tuesday, with Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud joining Djokovic in entering for the second round on Wednesday.

Alexander Zverev moved a step closer to his second Italian Open title with a hard-fought 6-4 6-3 quarter-final win over Taylor Fritz, overcoming an injury scare en route to the last four.

Zverev – who triumphed on the clay in Rome back in 2017 – produced a dominant serving performance against another heavy hitter in Fritz, but only after an awkward fall early on.

The German sought medical attention after falling on his stomach in the third service game of the match, the slip leaving him bleeding from both hands. 

However, he soon shook off that knock and did not allow Fritz a single break point in a deeply impressive display, setting up a semi-final meeting with Chile's Alejandro Tabilo – the conqueror of Novak Djokovic – for Friday.

Data Debrief: Zverev gathering momentum

Zverev, the lone former champion remaining in the men's draw, is surely the favourite to win a tournament characterised by unfortunate withdrawals and shock defeats for the biggest names.

Seven of Zverev's 21 tour-level titles have come on clay, and he is yet to drop a single set in Rome this year. His three-year wait for an ATP 1000 title could soon be over.

Novak Djokovic lamented his dismal showing as Alejandro Tabilo profited from the world number one's "completely off" performance to triumph at the Italian Open.

Tabilo stunned Djokovic with a straight-sets victory in the third round on Sunday, winning 6-2, 6-3 in his maiden ATP Tour clash with the Serbian.

The Chilean advances to the fourth round at a Masters 1000 event for just the second time after Indian Wells in 2023, with Djokovic unable to explain his struggles in Rome.

"I just wasn't able to find any kind of good feelings on the court, to be honest, striking the ball. I was completely off," he said.

A six-time champion in Rome, the 36-year-old won his opening-round match at the ATP Masters 1000 event against Corentin Moutet.

However, Djokovic was inadvertently hit on the head by a falling water bottle when leaving the court after that victory.

Whether that incident impacted his performance against Tabilo remains to be seen.

"I don't know, to be honest. I have to check that," he said. "Training was different. I was going for [a] kind of easy training yesterday.

"I didn't feel anything, but I also didn't feel the same. Today under high stress, it was quite bad – not in terms of pain, but in terms of this balance.

"Just no coordination. Completely different player from what it was two nights ago. Could be. I don't know. I have to do medical checkups and see what's going on."

Tabilo's next opponent will be Karen Khachanov, who saw off Francisco Cerundolo 6-2, 6-4, while Djokovic is made to wait for his 1100th match win.

Novak Djokovic is out of the Italian Open after a straight-sets defeat by Alejandro Tabilo in the third round on Sunday.

Tabilo recorded the biggest win of his career with a dominant performance, winning 6-2, 6-3 in his maiden ATP Tour clash with the Serbian.

Djokovic, who was hit on the head by a water bottle following his second-round win over Corentin Moutet, struggled to get going as he saw his serve broken four times.

Tabilo clinched the opening set in style, making few errors, and Djokovic failed to mount a comeback in the second, with double faults costing him at key moments, including one on the final break serve.

The Chilean advances to the fourth round at a Masters 1000 event for just the second time after Indian Wells in 2023. His next opponent will be Karen Khachanov, who saw off Francisco Cerundolo 6-2, 6-4. 

Data Debrief: Big winner

Tabilo is the second player from Chile to defeat the World No.1 in ATP-1000 events after Fernando Gonzalez, who defeated Lleyton Hewitt at the Hamburg Masters in 2003, since the introduction of the format in 1990.

He is also the first Chilean to defeat a World No. 1 since Fernando Gonzalez beat Roger Federer at the 2007 Nitto ATP Finals Round Robin.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is made to wait for his 1100th match win.

Novak Djokovic says he is "fine" after being hit on the head by a water bottle while signing autographs following his win at the Italian Open.

A video on social media showed Djokovic being hit by the object from the stands before falling to the floor.

The Serbian was helped out of the arena by security so he could receive medical treatment.

Djokovic later posted a message on X to assuage any fears, and thank fans for their support after the incident.

He said: "Thank you for the messages of concern. This was an accident and I am fine resting at the hotel with an ice pack. See you all on Sunday."

A statement from the Italian Open said: "Novak Djokovic has been accidentally hit by a bottle while signing autographs.

"This is not being treated as a deliberate act, but as an accident. A boy was calling out to get an autograph and the bottle fell out of his bag. Novak has been taken to the medical centre."

They later issued an update, which read: "Novak has undergone the necessary checks and has already left to return to his hotel. His condition is not a cause for concern."

The incident happened after Djokovic’s 6-3 6-1 win over Corentin Moutet when he approached supporters in the stands.

The world number one is due to play Chile’s Alejandro Tabilo in the next round on Sunday. 

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could meet in the Italian Open final after being positioned on opposite sides of the draw.

Nadal, a record 10-time champion at the tournament, could meet reigning champion Daniil Medvedev in the quarter-finals should they both get that far, while newly crowned Madrid Open winner, Andrey Rublev, would be a potential semi-final opponent.

In the top half of the draw, Djokovic will take on either Roman Safiullin or a qualifier in his first competitive appearance since Monte Carlo.

The Serbian, who is just two wins away from his 1100th tour-level career victory, is seeded to face Casper Ruud in the quarter-finals. Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov are also on their side of the draw.

Meanwhile, top seed Iga Swiatek has been drawn in the opposite half of the draw to Elena Rybakina, the reigning Italian Open champion.

Swiatek is projected to face Coco Gauff in the semi-finals for the second consecutive WTA 1000 event should they both progress.

Rybakina is due to meet second seed Aryna Sabalenka at the same stage, having lost to the Belarusian at last week’s Madrid Open semi-finals.

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